Sunday, December 16, 2012

Lost Satellite Release at Mixtape 5

Gravity Co. released their new album last Thursday at Mixtape 5, a live music club located in the underground where Evlogi Georgiev and Cherni Vruh intersect.  The venue hummed with the sound of gravity from 10:00pm onward.  Photos from the show can be found HERE.

I attempted a new setup for this show.  Instead of using a single speedlight on ETTL adjust to -2/3 of stop (stage right) I decided to mix it up a bit and throw another light on ETTL set to -1 stop (stage left) into the mix.  I started the show with a DIY grid on the speedlight on stage left.  I waited for the guitarist to walk into the feathered area of the grid and hoped for a "good moment" to collide with the good lighting.  You can see some examples of the shots below.


Here is my DIY gridspot.  It is made from black straws, electrical tape and yes ... the remainders of a Corny box (chocolate to be exact).  You should be able to figure out how to make it from looking at the image below.

I also shot the other side of the stage by using the other speedlight to rim light the other guitarist from stage right.  The grided speedlight on stage left spread just enough by the time it reached the other side of the stage to give just some fill for some decent dramatic lighting.  The example below shows rim light from stage right with the fill from stage left.

About half way through the first set, my DIY grid spot fell and the spread of the speedlight increased dramatically.  I left it off and shot some other photos from different angles, like the one you see below.  I waited until the singer was backlit by the other speedlight to create a more intense spotlit shot.  The guitarist in the foreground is lit by the speedlight above and to the left of the camera.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Portrait Lighting 101

After recently attending the AAS Craft Fair and meeting so many people that were excited about photography I quickly became inspired to help share some of the limited knowledge that I have about the subject.  So ... here it goes ...

Svetla asked me to take a few pictures for her to use for her Linked In profile.  I took full advantage of the situation to pull out some of the basic gear and take a few pictures of her.  Here is how I did it.

Right off the bat, I went to the "classic" photographers portrait setup.  I used off camera lighting and put up an umbrella and speedlight at 45 degrees off center and raised it up to 45 degrees above her head (camera right).  I then set the power on the flash to 1/8th power and the camera to f8.0.  I was given the advise that when working in manual mode, you can generally work at mid-range power settings, apertures and ISOs in order to make things turn out just about right.  With a few minor adjustments to the flash to subject distance, this seemed to be the case.  Please note that this effect can easily be achieved with on camera flash and a white wall.  If you are interested in knowing how, just leave a message and I'd be happy to write another post about it.

I then positioned Svetla with her left shoulder pointing towards me and asked her to turn her face to the light while bringing her eyes back to me.  I played around with this position until I got the "Rembrandt" lighting on her right cheek that you see in the picture below.

For anyone who is wondering "what is he talking about, Rembrandt lighting?" you are not alone.  I had not clue what it was when I first heard of it either.  Rembrandt lighting refers to the small triangle of light that you see on  Svetla's right cheek.  It is created by using a light source that is at a 45 degree angle to your model so that just enough of the light sneaks over the subject's nose and onto their cheek. to make a triangle.  It was made famous by Rembrandt himself and is featured in many of his famous works of art.  

Well, simple as it is, that is how we took this shot.  If you have any questions or would like any followup information please leave a comment and let me know.  I'd be happy to write another post about it!  

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Mira Katzarova Singing Latin Jazz

Even though Sofia was inundated with the white fluffy stuff early in the afternoon yesterday, many braved the cold weather and slippery sidewalks to warm their feet in the presence of the smooth, silky voice of Mira Katzarova, performing at Sofia Live Club.  She worked the stage with a slinky, sophisticated style that captivated the audience.  Mira was not the only talented musician on stage last night.  A "who's who" of Bulgarian Jazz came out to support Mira during her performance.  You can see some her videos below.

I tried a new lighting setup during this shoot.  I set up a grided 430ex II pointing at the microphone that was stopped down by 2/3 of a stop.  Then, I set up another strobe at the side of the stage and strapped a folded piece of A4 paper to it to flag the audience and create a slightly softer light.  The speedlight was set to ETTL.  This setup did give me a slightly better peek into the shadows and a touch more detail in the black and white image.  I would definitely give it another go for the next performance.